AKRON, OH (June 10, 2016) – The Akron Racers pulled out the brooms for the first time in 2016, defeating the Pennsylvania Rebellion 10-6 on Friday night thanks to another display of early offense scoring seven runs in the first two innings.
First baseman Sam Fischer’s 2-for-3, four RBI night, along with right fielder A.J. Andrews (Louisiana State) going 3-for-4 with three runs scored paced Akron’s (4-1) potent offense. The Racers offense is scoring a league-high 7.8 runs per game through five contests.
“I think overall [the key has been] team wins,” field manager Brian Levin said. “Team attitude. Everyone is doing their part and not trying to do too much.
“Sam, she plays shortstop, she will play first base, she will do anything you ask her to do to help the team. That’s just the kind of kid she is.”
The second inning alone saw nine runs scored between the two teams. After watching the Rebellion (3-7) pour on four runs in the top of the second inning to take a 4-2 lead, the Racers bounced right back with five runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Undaunted by the early deficit, Akron quickly loaded the bases as catcher Griffin Joiner (Kentucky) got the rally started with a leadoff single to left field. Second baseman Ashley Thomas (Georgia Tech) followed with a sharp bouncer that proved too hot for Pennsylvania pitcher Emma Johnson to handle and Andrews followed with a bunt single. Two batters later centerfielder Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) earned a bases loaded walk to push a run across. With two outs, Fischer (Loyola-Marymount) gave the Racers the lead at 5-4 with a two-run double to centerfield.
“This team is just meshing so well,” Fischer said. “Everybody is supporting everybody and once we are getting in a groove, everyone is just feeling it. This game has a lot to do with chemistry and a lot to do with momentum and I feel like we are picking up off each other’s vibes, energy.”
The rally wasn’t complete yet though as the designated player Alex Hugo (Georgia) drew a walk. Then veteran third baseman Kelley Montalvo (Alabama) followed the walk up with a 2-run single scoring Fischer and Schlopy and extending the Akron lead to 7-4.
Fischer added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth inning with two-run homer to right field that plated left fielder Shellie Robinson and gave the Racers a 9-4 advantage.
The Rebellion closed the gap slightly with a run in the fifth inning with an RBI single from Rebellion third baseman Whitney Arion that scored designated player Mandy Ogle. But in the bottom of the fifth, the Racers once again tallied a response run. Andrews got the fifth inning started with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Fagan. Schlopy knocked in the response run, Andrews, on a single.
The Rebellion looked like they had a good chance at a rally in the seventh with runners on first and third and no outs, but they were only able to manage one run, which came from an Ogle sacrifice fly.
Once again, the fast start propelled the Racers to victory. They have now outscored opponents 11-0 in the first inning this season. But before the Racers could even grab the bats, Schlopy made a sensational catch over the centerfield wall robbing Rebellion catcher Kristyn Sandberg of a 3-run shot that would have put Akron in an early hole.
“I think we are awesome,” Andrews said of her Racers outfield. “We are doing good work. You know, we are really building off each other again. (Schlopy) made an awesome catch today and we are all just trying to match that. She’s playing hard, I’m playing hard. Shellie’s playing hard. Whoever is in the outfield is going to play hard and the infield matches that, so it’s just tough ‘D’ all around.”
Running with the momentum from the leaping catch, the Rubber City was determined to steal another early lead. Andrews began the bottom of the first inning with a single and proceeded to steal second before scampering over to third base on a wild pitch. Schlopy reached base on a walk, which was followed by an RBI sacrifice fly from Robinson to knock in Andrews and continue their first inning success.
Hannah Perryman (Missouri-St. Louis) picked up her first career win, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of 11-year veteran pitcher Sarah Pauly (A&M Corpus-Christi).
After opening the season with five straight showdowns with the Pennsylvania Rebellion, the Racers will square off against the Dallas Charge at Firestone Stadium Saturday night with the first pitch coming at 7:05.
About the Pennsylvania Rebellion:
The Rebellion is a professional women’s softball team competing as part of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF). In their third season in the league, the Rebellion will play head-to-head against the most talented players in the sport. Games are broadcast nationally and draw local fans of all ages to experience the action live. NPF is an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball. For more information about the Pennsylvania Rebellion, please visit www.pennsylvaniarebellion.com or call 724-250-9555.
About the Akron Racers:
The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, celebrating their 15th Season of Play in 2016. The Racers competed in the Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2002, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in diamond sports beyond their collegiate success. The 2016 NPF season will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Coverage includes the NPF College Draft presented by Bownet on Thur., April 14, followed by 23 regular-season games, a Championship Series Preview Special and the 2016 NPF Championship Series. The NPF recently announced that the Scrap Yard Dawgs, located in The Woodlands, Texas, will join the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Dallas Charge, Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2016 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand, representing the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.
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